What is “Op Art?” The point of optical art is to confuse the eye. There is no other subject. Op art is not about what we see – but how we see – a process called Optics.
Traditional Illusions Realistic painting uses perception to produce the illusion of 3-D space on a flat canvas, and combinations of colors to suggest light and shadow. Alice Neel YOUNG WOMAN, 1940 oil on canvas 32 1/16 in. X 24 1/16 in. Andrew Wyett, Christina’s World
Let’s break it down… Contrast Using equal amounts of two opposite elements produces confusion for our brains to determine which to focus. This contrast creates tension and movement. Contrast can be developed by: Black vs white Complementary colors – chromatic tension
Visual Tension To create this illusion, the artist established a geometric unit – here a circle – repeated it to build a pattern. She then introduced subtle variations of form and gradation to create visual tension. Bridget Riley (b. 1931), Pause, 1964 Emulsion on board, 44x42 in. Private collection.
Movement and Depth Op artists worked with pattern and color to create eye catching illusions of movement in depth. Carlos Cruz-Diaz
In Op art, the dark colors recede while the light colors advance. Look at this picture again:
Chromatic Tension Op artists also produced chromatic tension by juxtaposing (placing side by side) contrasting colors. Complementary color pair (red and green) create a rhythmic sense of motion. Bridget Riley
1. In pencil, make a dot somewhere near the middle of the paper. Draw 10 wavy lines - radiating outward - creating sets of wavy “triangle” shapes. The shapes need to be done in pairs for the black and white to work out correctly. 2. Draw outward curved lines within in EVERY OTHER “triangle” group. Then draw inward curved lines within in EVERY OTHER “triangle” group. connecting inward curved lines to the outward curved lines. It should look and feel like the lines are curving in and out - like a wave. 4. With a Sharpie marker - start with the center shapes fill in every other shape on one row go to the next row and fill in next to white shape from the first row Procedure draw three circles anywhere on the page make a dot near the center of the paper and use a ruler to make lines coming out from the dot (do not draw thru the circles make an even number of triangles (10 is good) for the project to work show how to add curved lines in each triangle to create the illusion show them that they should color the smaller stripes with a black Sharpie. show them how to do the circles. Do half a circle at a time. The lines should start and end at the middle of the outside of the circle, and curve towards the outside of the circle, creating an "eye" on the circle. They then do the same thing, crossing the first and color it in a checkerboard pattern.